The weekend of Feb. 23-24 marked the first round of the 2002 Shell Super Karting Series in the Carmona Circuit. Upon our arrival there, we were greeted with many familiar faces in the karting world, as well as some not so familiar ones. We also noticed that several of last year's contestants weren't there. Some have moved on to different forms of motorsports while others were just absent for this particular round. As is often the case in all motorsports, several drivers also made the jump to different teams. And so we have the karting veterans, last year's champions, and this year's rookies battling each other in this ultra competitive series.
The weekend certainly had its share of action, both on the track and off it. On heat 2 of the FSL Light division, Pia Boren of team Edgesport got into a collision causing her kart to almost flip over, damaging the kart seriously. Boren was able to walk away without serious injuries but she was visibly shaken, she rejoined the final heat with a borrowed kart. The FSL Light division was almost dominated by Kendrick Sy of Team Demvels. Sy showed great prowess as he took the lead early on in the race having quite a big advantage in the first few laps. But as the race moved on, fatigue began to set in, and he found himself in danger of losing the lead as Jan Jan Gonzales and Indy Villalon mounted their own offensives. Sy tried everything he could to defend his lead, but as the race went towards the last few laps, Gonzales and Villalon were just too fast for him. Sy settled for third as Gonzales took top honors followed by Villalon of MOFO Racing.
The FSL Heavy ran with a grid of 5 competitors. The battle in this class was mainly between Michael Yap of Tuason Racing Project and Tim Gosnel of MOFO Racing, who joined both Formula Rotax and FSL Heavy classes. Incredible stamina you say? Of course, but you also have to take into consideration that Tim is no longer, shall we say, in the prime of his youth. Being in his early 50's as confirmed by team manager Ogie Villalon. Showing that one is never too old to race. Yap and Gosnel exchanged leads running within 2 seconds of each other. It was on the final lap where Gosnel made a crucial mistake when he made a diving maneuver on the heavenly hairpin going wide to give Yap the inside lane to take the checkered flag. Dennis Almuete took third honors behind Yap and Gosnel respectively.
Edgesport's Jerome Montemayor only managed a 4th because of a fuel leak from his tank. "I was planning to pit it in several occasions but our team manager Edgen (Dy-Liacco) convinced me to finish the race," said Montemayor. "I wanted shout that my balls almost burned because of the gas from the tank," he further added. Italian Riccardo Loi being an accomplished circuit racer, will be trying his hand at karting this season. But according to him, it is more difficult to jump from circuit car racing to kart racing than the other way around. The FSL Jr. class this year with a bigger grid composed of eight racers saw the M&M Racing siblings, Mark and Michelle Bumgarner dominate the race. Marty Aguilar came in third place.
The Formula 125 Rotax Max saw Philip Alvendia's display of skill as he successfully defended against a charge by 'The Swiss Blade' Marcel Thenu. JP Cari˜o, Lee Bumgarner, and Edgar Quesada were likewise competitive each aiming to psyche up their season by taking the win. Alvendia succeeded to draw first blood taking the opening round. Thenu came in second while Cariño followed in third.